Philadelphia Toughens It’s “Ban the Box” Law to Include All Employers

By Eric B. Meyer

The City of Philadelphia announced this week that Mayor Michael Nutter has signed an Executive Order to implement this amendment to the city’s Fair Criminal Screening Standards Ordinance, also known as Ban the Box.

Under the Executive Order, no City agencies or private employers, with at least one employee, may ask job applicants about criminal background and arrests during the application and job interview process.

Previously, private employers with fewer than 10 employees had been exempt.

Key provisions of the order

According to the City’s press release, other key provisions of the Executive Order include the following:

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  • Employers may conduct a criminal background check only after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
  • Employers must consider guidelines when determining whether to disqualify an applicant on the basis of his or her criminal record.
  • An employer can only examine a criminal record going back seven years, excluding periods of incarceration.
  • Employers must notify the applicant in writing if they are rejected and provide the applicant with a copy of the criminal history report. Applicants have 10 business days following the rejection to provide evidence of an inaccuracy on the report or to provide an explanation.
  • Applicants have 300 calendar days to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

If you operate a business in Philadelphia, get out that hiring policy manual and make sure that it comports with these changes to the law. Otherwise, start updating right away.

The amendments will take effect in 90 days.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.